Books by Anthea Bell

Anthea Bell's translations include the works of the Brothers Grimm and E.T.A. Hoffmann, and Jakob Arjouni's Idiots (Other Press, June 2005). In 2002, her translation of W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz won the Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize from the Goethe-Institu


ICE COLD by Andrea Maria Schenkel
Released: June 2, 2015

"Schenkel's second novel, a No. 1 seller in Germany, takes leave from mainstream crime fiction with its merciless depiction of a rapist killer and his victims."
A killer/rapist is on the loose in late-1930s Munich, which even without him is not a good time or place for an attractive young woman from a distant village to come looking for work. Read full book review >
DREAM A LITTLE DREAM by Kerstin Gier
Released: April 14, 2015

"While it's less compelling than her Ruby Red Trilogy, fans should enjoy Gier's latest chilling, unresolved tale of sinister dreams and budding romance. (Fantasy. 12-17)"
A teen who loves secrets finds herself in the dreams of four handsome guys at her posh London school in this first volume of the Silver Trilogy. Read full book review >
THE SWEETNESS OF LIFE by Françoise Héritier
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 1, 2013

"A reminder of blessings."
A stop-and-smell-the-roses book by a distinguished French anthropologist. Read full book review >
EMERALD GREEN by Kerstin Gier
Released: Oct. 8, 2013

"Ruby Red series fans will not be disappointed with this surprising and romantic finale. (Fantasy. 12 & up)"
Contemporary teen Gwen confronts romantic heartbreak and shocking secrets about her destiny as part of the time traveling Circle of Twelve in this final volume of the Ruby Red Trilogy, which commences where Sapphire Blue (2012) abruptly ended. Read full book review >
THE LUDWIG CONSPIRACY by Oliver Pötzsch
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 3, 2013

"Fans of bookish European fiction will enjoy this, the too abundant Dan Brown-ian motions notwithstanding."
Who was that Cowled Man? Austrian novelist Pötzsch serves up an ambitious though familiar tale of Mad King Ludwig. Read full book review >
ARCADIA BURNS by Kai Meyer
Released: Feb. 12, 2013

"Mafiosa Rosa is rarely likable, but this tough survivor takes control of her own life, determined not to be controlled, assaulted, lied to or—quite literally—devoured. (Paranormal romance. 14-16)"
A shape-shifting Mafia capo insists on romance amid dark family mysteries. Read full book review >
SAPPHIRE BLUE by Kerstin Gier
Released: Oct. 30, 2012

"Hopefully, all will be revealed in the Emerald Green finale.(Fantasy. 12 & up)"
In this second volume of the Ruby Red Trilogy, 16-year-old Gwen continues her time-traveling adventures as the newest member of the Circle of Twelve. Read full book review >
RUBY RED by Kerstin Gier
Released: May 10, 2011

"Bell's deft translation captures an engaging heroine with a cell phone and a sense of humor, an emerging romance and a complex, unresolved time-travel mystery spanning four centuries. (Fantasy. 12 & up)"
A contemporary English teen discovers she possesses a gene enabling her to travel into the past in this riveting first volume of the Ruby Red trilogy. Read full book review >
THE LITTLE MERMAID by Hans Christian Andersen
Kirkus Star
by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger, translated by Anthea Bell, developed by Auryn Inc.
IPAD BOOK APPS
Released: Feb. 25, 2011

"Children accustomed to Disney blandness will find this quiet, subtle app a welcome introduction to a more sophisticated aesthetic. (iPad storybook app. 6-12)"
Andersen's classic text is paired to Zwerger's elegant, subdued illustrations and animated with graceful restraint. Read full book review >
THE CALLIGRAPHER'S SECRET by Rafik Schami
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 1, 2011

"An engaging, rich, deceptively revelatory if lengthy insight into Syrian society."
Affectionate, insightful, tangential tales of life in 1950s Damascus enfold the central story of a mismatched marriage and a runaway wife. Read full book review >
AN EXCLUSIVE LOVE by Johanna Adorján
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 10, 2011

"In the process of assimilating disparate facts into a poignant and elegant story, Adorján exposes her own hopes and fears, an added bonus."
Berlin-based journalist Adorján's debut examines why and how her grandparents committed suicide together, decades after they survived the Holocaust. Read full book review >
THE BLINDNESS OF THE HEART by Julia Franck
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 5, 2010

"Franck's impressionistic style and empathy encourage fresh responses to familiar subject matter—fine, disturbing, memorable work."
Darkness engulfs a family and a nation, in a psychologically acute addition to the literature of Germany's downfall; the book was an international bestseller and won the German Book Prize. Read full book review >
THE DRAGONS OF DARKNESS by Antonia Michaelis
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Jan. 1, 2010

"The occasional coy authorial asides may jar and the ambiguous conclusion may frustrate, but the themes of courage, sacrifice and identity will hook readers completely and send them scurrying to learn more about the exotic setting. (Fantasy. YA)"
Once upon a time there was a timid German boy whose idolized older brother was kidnapped by Maoist rebels in Nepal. Read full book review >
WINTER’S END by Jean-Claude Mourlevat
ADVENTURE
Released: Nov. 1, 2009

"Bravo! (Fantasy. 14 & up)"
Growing up in a dystopian society reminiscent of mid-20th-century Europe, four teens move from darkness and despair to light and hope as they pursue freedom. Read full book review >
THE DARK SIDE OF LOVE by Rafik Schami
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: July 1, 2009

"A rewarding and beautifully written, if blood-soaked, tale."
Romeo and Juliet meets Arturo Pérez-Reverte and John le Carré in the dusty streets of Damascus in this novel from Syrian-born Schami, a bestselling author in his adopted homeland of Germany. Read full book review >
TIGER MOON by Antonia Michaelis
ANIMALS
Released: Nov. 1, 2008

"A superior fairy tale, indeed—down to the bittersweet but ultimately satisfying conclusion. (Fantasy. 13 & up)"
Safia, sold by her poor, high-caste father to be a Rajah's eighth wife, knows that she faces death when her brutal husband discovers she is not a virgin. Read full book review >
THE SWINEHERD by Hans Christian Andersen
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

"An amusing reversal of the usual prince-in-disguise story. (Picture book/fairy tale. 4-8)"
Andersen and Zwerger's Swineherd enchants with an uncharacteristically (for him) funny resolution, courtesy of Bell's graceful translation, and her characteristically ethereal illustrations. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2008

"A novel rich with experience and imagination."
Displaying a stylistic audacity that is often dazzling (and occasionally dizzying), this debut novel mixes fictionalized memoir, magical realism and a Catch-22 sense of war's tragicomic absurdity. Read full book review >
LOVE TODAY by Maxim Biller
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 2008

"<\b>A globe-spanning collection that offers a keyhole view of mostly doomed relationships."
A German author makes his U.S. debut with 27 portraits of love dying on the vine. Read full book review >
KISMET by Jakob Arjouni
by Jakob Arjouni, translated by Anthea Bell
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: March 1, 2008

"The plot is full of holes and awkward shifts as Kayankaya hurtles from one nest of vipers to the next. But even apart from the obligatory anti-Turkish episode, the unsavory atmosphere is inimitable."
A routine shakedown leads Frankfurt PI Kemal Kayankaya (One Death to Die, 1997, etc.) to a maze of slimy, violent crooks. Read full book review >
THE PORRIDGE POT by Carl Colshorn
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

"It's all a bit strange, but very traditional and the pictures will attract older readers who will enjoy the Puss-in-Boots overtones. (Folktale. 7-10)"
A newly translated 19th-century German tale features intriguing illustrations. Read full book review >
THE CHESS MACHINE by Robert Löhr
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 9, 2007

"In the author's notes that end the novel, Löhr explains what is based on historical record and what he has invented, but this is a work of such marvelously creative imagination that it makes little difference what's factual and what isn't—it all rings true."
Rich in detail and psychological depth, this historical novel of 18th-century Europe has plenty of contemporary resonance for American readers. Read full book review >
THREE BAGS FULL by Leonie Swann
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: June 5, 2007

"All these problems are handsomely solved at the unsurprising cost of making the human characters less interesting than the sheep. But the sustained tone of straight-faced wonderment is magical."
Just when you thought you'd seen a detective in every guise imaginable, here comes one in sheep's clothing. Read full book review >
THE BREMEN TOWN MUSICIANS by Lisbeth Zwerger
adapted by Lisbeth Zwerger, illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger, translated by Anthea Bell
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: March 1, 2007

"A happy ending for all. (Picture book/fairytale. 4-8)"
Zwerger's illustrations for this favorite Grimm Brothers' tale make new the story of the geriatric animal quartet setting out for Bremen to join the town band. Read full book review >
BERLIN by Pierre Frei
by Pierre Frei, translated by Anthea Bell
THRILLERS
Released: Nov. 1, 2006

"Unfocused, and unsatisfying as a whole."
A sprawling thriller set amid the hard times and horrors of pre- and post-World War II Germany. Read full book review >
DEVIL’S TANGO by Herve Jubert
FANTASY
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

"Marred only by the pretension of four identical footnotes urging you to read Book 1, this is a metaphysically creative and fantastical tale for fans of the offbeat. (Fantasy. YA)"
As fanciful as its predecessor but blessedly more cohesive, this quirky fantasy is a lovely ride. Read full book review >
SOMETHING REMAINS by Inge Barth-Grözinger
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

It's 1933 and 12-year-old Erich Levi and his family are Jews living in rural Germany. Read full book review >
THE PRINCETTA by Anne-Laure Bondoux
ADVENTURE
Released: Aug. 1, 2006

"Plodding and unsatisfying. (Fiction. 10-14)"
Fifteen-year-old Malva, Princetta of Galnicia, has been educated by the Archont to chafe against the constraints of her position, and escapes her parents, the Coronado and Coronada, on the eve of her wedding. Read full book review >
BLACK ICE by Hans Werner Kettenbach
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Feb. 1, 2006

"A devilish dive into an obsessed mind by a prolific German crime writer (Davids Rasche, 1996, etc.). Despite, or because of, his many humorous quirks, Scholten is also a convincing Everyman."
An office worker goes to extremes to prove that the boss's wife was murdered by the boss. Read full book review >
FANTASY
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

"Unwieldy. (Fantasy. YA)"
This grandiose futuristic fantasy has clever concepts but falls prey to vague metaphysics and muddled prose. Read full book review >
THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL by Hans Christian Andersen
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

"Young readers will find themselves challenged by these highly unconventional images, which will in turn help them to challenge their understanding of a highly conventional tale. (Picture book/fairy tale. 6+)"
The familiar tale is paired with startling modernist illustrations that strip the sentimentality so often associated with it in favor of a more purely intellectual response. Read full book review >
NICHOLAS by René Goscinny
Kirkus Star
by René Goscinny, illustrated by Jean-Jacques Sempé, translated by Anthea Bell
FICTION
Released: July 1, 2005

"At least one sequel is scheduled. (Fiction. 9-11)"
A favorite in France for decades, these 19 tongue-in-cheek tales of daily life as seen through the eyes of an uncritical young everylad will elicit bursts of laughter from children and adults alike. Read full book review >
IDIOTS by Jakob Arjouni
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 2005

"Are you wishing for a wry, sly book about the human comedy? Wish granted."
Outsized egos take a shellacking in nine crafty, contemporary tales about vanity and the titular "idiots" who succumb to it. Read full book review >
IN MY BROTHER’S SHADOW by Uwe Timm
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 1, 2005

"History and private life interfused utterly by a master writer in a way at once authentic, unpretentious, moving, and of extraordinary significance."
Now that he alone of his immediate family is still alive, this remarkable German writer (The Invention of Curried Sausage, 1995, etc.) produces a group memoir that, with piercing intelligence, reawakens—and grieves over—a dreadful history. Read full book review >
CAMPO SANTO by W.G. Sebald
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: March 8, 2005

"Sebald's body of work proves that claim true, and it's good to have these further products of his life-affirming imagination and spirit."
A miscellany of 16 literary and personal essays comprise the last testament of the late German-born author (1944-2001). Read full book review >
DREAMING IN BLACK & WHITE by Reinhardt Jung
FICTION
Released: June 1, 2003

"Appended by several brief chapters that give the background to the story. (Fiction. 10-14)"
Hannes, a German boy with disabilities, begins having vivid waking dreams after studying "those terrible times back then," as his parents euphemistically refer to the Nazi era. Read full book review >
ON THE NATURAL HISTORY OF DESTRUCTION by W.G. Sebald
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 18, 2003

"Somber and moving: a contribution to the literature of WWII from a perspective that will be new to most American readers."
Interconnected essays from the recently deceased German novelist (Austerlitz, 2001, etc.) on his nation's capacity to cause, absorb, and forget suffering. Read full book review >
EVA’S COUSIN by Sibylle Knauss
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

"An earnest if also lethargic footnote to a footnote of history. (This is the first of Knauss's five novels to be translated into English.)"
Talk about 15 minutes of celebrity: here's a novel based on German dramaturgy professor Knauss's interviews with Gertrude Weisker, who spent the last several months of WWII with her cousin Eva Braun at Hitler's mountain retreat. Read full book review >
AUSTERLITZ by W.G. Sebald
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 1, 2001

"Superbly translated, hypnotically written, a volume that requires and rewards slow, careful reading."
Another haunting mixture of history, memoir, and photo album from the author of The Rings of Saturn (1998) and Vertigo (2000). Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 1999

"What interested Szpilman (who still lives in Warsaw), and what comes through here, is not a desire for revenge, but the brute animal drive for survival."
A striking Holocaust memoir that conveys with exceptional immediacy and cool reportage the author's desperate fight for survival and the German who came to his aid. Read full book review >
LUMINA by Brigitte Weninger
by Brigitte Weninger, translated by Anthea Bell, illustrated by Julie Wintz-Litty
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1997

"After so many pages of pure agony, readers will be dazed by and suspicious of this particular turn of events—at least The Little Match Girl delivers a good cry. (Picture book. 5-9)"
Wintz-Litty's watercolors, with their intimate nighttime village scenes and wild landscapes, are splendidly bleak as poor Lumina's sad story unfolds: She is parentless, homeless, hungry, and shunned by her countryfolk—``Go away, little beggar girl!''- -as the snowballs rain down on her head. Read full book review >
THE FIVE FINGERS AND THE MOON by Kemal Kurt
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Sept. 15, 1997

"Blau, in his first book, brings out the story's eccentricities in craggy, shadowy illustrations, wrapped in color and tinged with menace; it's hard to care about this odd place, Elsewhere, but the illustrations have the austere beauty of a light in darkness. (Picture book/folklore. 5-8)"
Kurt's fairy tale takes place in Elsewhere, beyond the horizon, with its queen and assorted dwarves, brownies, elves, and other kindred souls. Read full book review >
RAPUNZEL by Jacob Grimm
by Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm, translated by Anthea Bell, illustrated by Maja Dusikova
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: May 1, 1997

"Bell's translation is ideal for reading aloud. (Picture book/folklore. 5-8)"
This rendition of Rapunzel hews very closely to the original, a familiar romantic adventure: Rapunzel's father is caught nipping rampion from the witch's garden to satisfy his pregnant wife's craving, and agrees to surrender the child to the witch to guarantee his wife's health. Read full book review >
THE BRAVE LITTLE TAILOR by Jacob Grimm
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: April 15, 1997

One of the Grimms' more eccentric tales receives the outlandish attention of Goloshapov (The Six Servants, 1996, etc.), whose ominous illustrations give the story its due. Read full book review >
FATIMA AND THE DREAM THIEF by Rafik Schami
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: Dec. 1, 1996

"A visual treat with a gutsy heroine at its center. (Picture book. 5-8)"
The wealthy lord of a castle strikes a peculiar deal with a desperately poor boy, Hassan. Read full book review >
THE CROW WHO STOOD ON HIS BEAK by Rafik Schami
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 1996

"Energetic illustrations feature an ebulliently resourceful hero, but the many messages are confusing: This is, all at once, a story about the struggles of a single parent, the sin of pride, and a reminder to be true to one's self. (Picture book. 5-8)"
A celebration of one who dares to be different, with some discordant notes along the way. Read full book review >
THE SIX SERVANTS by Wilhelm Grimm
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: April 1, 1996

"As with a good ghost story, the horror here is the enticement. (Picture book/folklore. 6-10)"
Although popular culture's take on fairy tales tends to emphasize the bright side of life, Goloshapov's illustrations for this old story retain its darker aspects and fairly bristle with menace. Read full book review >
THE LITTLE FLOWER KING by Kveta Pacovská
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: March 1, 1996

"These scenes give the tale an indescribable lightness and make it read more like a love letter than a children's book. (Picture book. 4-7)"
A gorgeously original tale, from the creator of the enigmatic Flying (1995). Read full book review >
THE SEVEN RAVENS by Jacob Grimm
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Dec. 1, 1995

"The symbolism of the pictures overwhelms the nuances of the story: When the sister appears with all her fingers in place in the last scene, but no restoration is mentioned in the text, children are likely to read it as a mistake. (Picture book/folklore. 5-8)"
A father curses his seven sons and they turn into ravens in this ever-popular tale. Read full book review >
THE WOLF AND THE SEVEN LITTLE KIDS by Jacob Grimm
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Dec. 1, 1995

"Children will know from the start that all's well that ends well. (Picture book/folklore. 3-5)"
Bell and Watts, two reliable interpreters of folklore (Rumpelstiltskin, 1993, etc.), team up again for this strong entry in a crowded field. Read full book review >
LITTLE HOBBIN by Theodor Storm
by Theodor Storm, translated by Anthea Bell, illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Nov. 1, 1995

"Zwerger's masterful, delicate watercolors give the tale just the right measure of dreamy suspense in a 19th-century setting. (Picture book. 5-8)"
Little Hobbin loves to be pushed around the room in his crib on wheels. ``More, more,'' he commands his mother until she falls in bed exhausted. Read full book review >
POETRY
Released: April 1, 1995

"Gallows Songs'' portion—on Roald Dahl fans. (Poetry. 10-14)"
Deliberately obtrusive, busy book design all but mars this overdue collection of children's poetry and nonsense verse from a German experimental poet (d. 1914). Read full book review >
DWARF NOSE by Wilhelm Hauff
by Wilhelm Hauff, translated by Anthea Bell, illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Nov. 15, 1994

"The world of fairy tales was made a whole lot poorer when Hauff died in 1827, at only 25 years old. (Folklore/Picture book. All ages)"
A beautifully crafted fairy tale, in which young Jacob, the son of poor parents living in a large German town, has a run-in with the bad fairy Herbwise, a hideous enchantress. Read full book review >
THE BOYS FROM ST. PETRI by Bjarne Reuter
FICTION
Released: March 1, 1994

"An excellent complement to Carol Matas's Lisa's War (1989) and its sequel. (Fiction. 12+)"
A sense of pressure permeates this tightly focused novel about young Danish resistance fighters in 1942. Read full book review >
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN FAIRY TALES by Hans Christian Andersen
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Nov. 20, 1992

"Otherwise, a handsome, intelligently planned volume with lovely illustrations. (Fiction. 6+)"
An Andersen medalist whose distinguished work includes picture-book editions of individual Andersen tales (Thumbeline, 1985) selects eight stories for a collection intended to ``echo that grand tradition where the literature itself takes center stage, and the master illustrator presents only a picture or two to light up the reader's imagination.'' By and large, this elegantly tall (13´'') volume achieves that aim. Read full book review >
THE LITTLE FLOWER KING by Kveta Pacovská
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Nov. 20, 1992

"Try this with very young children, who'll like the peek-a-boo cover cutouts and respond to the vibrant colors, bold forms, and simple story. (Picture book. 2-6)"
The Czech author-illustrator of a wonderfully inventive counting book (One, Five, Many) brings the same imagination and brilliant colors to illustrations for an old-fashioned story a little king whose happy life planting tulips is incomplete until he quests for a princess (he finds her in a tulip blossom) and makes her his queen. Read full book review >
THE BREMEN TOWN MUSICIANS by Jacob Grimm
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: April 1, 1992

"Both deserve a place in library collections. (Folklore/Picture book. 4-8)"
Watts's soft, more traditional illustrations don't have the rambunctious zest of Wilhelm's (below), but they are appealingly pretty (in the best sense), representing the animals with sympathy, their defeat of the robbers with some humor, and the setting with a pleasant nostalgia. Read full book review >
BUSTER, ``THE SHEIKH OF HOPE STREET'' by Bjarne Reuter
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

"In Bell's excellent translation, the style is wonderfully vigorous and colorful. (Fiction. 9+)"
A second bittersweet story about the hero of Buster's World (1990 Batcheldor Award)—with the vulnerable but resilient Danish boy now yearning to play the lead in a school play. Read full book review >
THE FLORAL COMPANION by Anthea  Bell
Released: Feb. 22, 1989

An occasionally slow-going but nonetheless engaging second novel from Bell (A London Season, 1983), this one set in post-Regency England—circa 1830—and starring spunky heroine Mrs. Caroline ("Carey") Read full book review >